With eight state championships at three different schools, Jack Cochran is one of the most successful coaches in Connecticut high school football history.
Controversy often came with his high achievements, but when it came to results, Cochran delivered.
Now 57, Cochran is in the delivery business, on the cutting edge of the growing cannabis industry. His company, Green Coach Delivery, the first state-approved cannabis delivery service, will begin operating in Hartford County on May 25, with plans to expand quickly in the coming weeks and months
“Organization,” Cochran said Wednesday in an interview with the Courant. “When I started as a head coach, I was very young, one of my practices stunk and we lost. It was because I just wasn’t prepared, the practice wasn’t organized. The more I learned about the organization and great practice, it led to perfection. Same thing when I had my restaurant, I would come in at 4:30, 5 in the morning and organize the day. Before I left at night, I returned every phone call, answered every email, set the stage for the morning. Same thing for this. How hard I’ve worked the last two years is going to determine how well we’re prepared.”
A New London native, Cochran has been a teacher, coach, bail bondsman, restaurateur and consultant. After winning championships at Bloomfield and New Britain high schools, he won his last state title at New London in 2008, and left his last head coaching position at Harding High School in Bridgeport for health reasons in 2012, finishing with a career record of 160-24-2 as a head football coach. After buying and running a restaurant, he was a volunteer assistant at Killingly High School, another successful program. In 2020, he applied to return as head coach at New Britain High School, but it didn’t work out. He can’t see himself coaching again in these parts.
“It would be very difficult to put a program together in Connecticut right now without spring football that was taken away,” he said. “You look back during COVID, Connecticut was (among the few states) that didn’t play football in the spring or fall. That really says something about where this state is headed. It’s sad.”
We’re thrilled to be a part of Green Coach Delivery’s journey as joint equity partners. Congratulations to Jack Cochran and the whole Green Coach Delivery team on becoming the first delivery service in Connecticut! https://t.co/tO5kq2gkA7
— Curaleaf (@Curaleaf_Inc) May 4, 2023
Two years ago, Cochran was at a birthday party for Jordan Reed, the tight end who played for him at New London and went on to success in the NFL with Washington and San Francisco. After his playing days ended, Reed entered the medical marijuana field in Maryland. He had used marijuana for his many football injuries.
“Cannabis was never something I needed to do every day,” Reed told the Washington Times in 2021. “I had full control over my use of cannabis. … For me, it was actually beneficial.”
It was then that Cochran became interested in investing.
“I got to see the whole industry side,” Cochran said. “(Reed) had investments in California and Colorado. His brother had a cannabis store in Maryland, and Jordan was looking to partner. I fell into it. We were going to have a dispensary and cultivation site, and I was going to run delivery and transport for them. I took several months and studied and came up with a plan and was very close to relocating. It didn’t pan out at the end, but the good part is I learned it and less than a week later, Connecticut legalized cannabis. I looked at the bill and it was everything I’d just learned and put together a plan for.”
His restaurant, coincidently called The Recovery Room, was ahead of the curve in adapting to delivery, which became the only way to do business during the pandemic. Things fell into place.
“I was intrigued with delivery,” Cochran said. “Other than a few times in high school, I never used (marijuana). But I got to see the business part of it and I got to see, which I had no idea, a very large number of athletes use it for medical reasons, for recovery, for pain relief. They want to stay away from the hard pharmaceuticals.”
Cochran has spent two years studying the rules, the possibilities and the potential problems, such as traffic patterns in certain parts of the state. Now that he has his license, he is prepared.
When the venture was announced last week, Cochran got 187 applications from drivers. He can hire up to 25, and they will be full-time employees, along with dispatchers.
“Most important,” Cochran said, “there’s a social-equity aspect of it. With my license, I’m able to partner with Community Level Up, a non-profit (organization) in New London. Give kids that extra support, community service for our workers, provide workshops and mentorships. Once we get established, I can do it in Hartford County, New Haven County, Bridgeport, hopefully give back in that way. We’re helping create good-paying jobs that can help people with a step up. We’re going to hire more than 50 percent of our workers from what we call ‘disproportionate impact areas,’ and try to go even hire each year.”
Patrik Jonsson, CEO of Higher Collective, an organization that helped Cochran through the process, will soon be partnering with his delivery service.
“Jack’s commitment to social responsibility and community service is a model for the industry,” Jonsson said last week in a statement announcing Green Coach Delivery. “And we look forward to seeing the positive impact they will have on our state.”
Green Coach Delivery will be the “B to C” part of the process. “A to B” is transporting the cannabis from the cultivator to the store. Cochran’s company will be able to deliver from the stores to residences once customers verify their age, identity and residence, or to caregivers for patients using cannabis for medicinal purposes.
There will be price points where, once reached, delivery will be free. Fine Fettle in Manchester will be the first store from which Cochran’s company will deliver.
“Our youngest two generations are moving away from alcohol and moving toward cannabis,” Cochran said. “I’m not here to argue it, but there are a lot of kids who don’t want to wake up with that hangover. I see the next 10 years, the number of people 50-plus is the fastest growing, people using it for stress and pain relief. You’re not stopping it. It’s not going anywhere. … I always look ahead, this is the next chapter in my life.”
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